Because of public health restrictions, Ho Ho Hoquiam will be celebrated a bit differently this year.
The 7th Street Theatre had been set to show the 1983 classic “A Christmas Story” this Saturday as part of the downtown holiday celebration, which for the past decade has taken place the first weekend of December. The public festivities have included free cocoa, commemorative ornaments and a Christmas tree decorating contest amongst the downtown businesses.
But the movie had to be canceled in mid-November, when theaters were shut down statewide because of a surge in COVID-19 cases. This led the Hoquiam Business Association to alter its overall plan.
Instead of having a single-weekend, in-person celebration, association president Jody Peterson said the board decided unanimously to sponsor gifts and physically distanced visits from Santa all month long.
Montesano-based Artsy Arrow Designs created commemorative laser-cut wood ornaments for the occasion. The association purchased them and is distributing them to about 15 Hoquiam retailers, which will start handing them out free to visitors Friday.
“What we’re trying to do is drive customers into these businesses to get their free ornament, and then hopefully they may see something they would want to shop for for Christmas,” said Peterson.
Participating retailers include the Grays Harbor Pottery Guild, Hammer & Brush, and several others all over Hoquiam.
The organization also has hired Santa to appear for the next three weekends in the Rescom Flooring parking lot at Sixth Street and Simpson Avenue. The times are 2 to 4 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 4; from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 12 and 13; and from noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 18.
“Santa will be sitting in a sleigh behind a piece of Plexiglas,” said Peterson. “So he’s not going to touch anyone, and we’re going to send candy canes down a chute like what we used for Halloween.”
She added that Santa will wear a clear face shield so the kids can still see him, and parents will be able to take photos with their children standing in front of the Plexiglas wall.
For more information, email the association at email@example.com.